Interim Work By City Has It Ready For UHC

By Jeff Toquinto

The Bridgeport News

Thursday, December 8, 2005

As the battle between United Hospital Center and Fairmont General Hospital went through countless legal hoops and several years of delay, the City of Bridgeport didn’t sit idly by. Instead, Bridgeport officials were busy getting things ready in the event UHC won the right to relocate a new facility in Bridgeport.

Last week UHC won the lengthy legal battle.

The West Virginia Supreme Court overturned a decision by Marion County Circuit Judge Fred Fox. Fox had earlier overruled rulings by the State Health Care Authority and an Office of Judges’ decision that UHC could build a multi-million-dollar facility here in Bridgeport.

With the legal wrangling aside, United Hospital Center President Bruce Carter said the new hospital should open by November 2009. The hospital will be built on the southbound side of Interstate 79’s Jerry Dove Drive exit on property formerly known as White Oaks.

During the last few years, Bridgeport officials haven’t done much in the way of infrastructure work, but they have done plenty of design and other prep work that will allow the project to begin when UHC is ready to move forward.

"What we’ve done is the preparation work to upgrade the sewage lines," said City Engineer Tom Brown. "We have also worked with Hornor Brothers (Engineers) on the preliminary grading plans."

The grading plans were being reviewed by Brown this week. Brown also said even though the design for the sewage line work still has to be done, everything is in place for that work to start.

"We’ve laid the groundwork and are at the point where we’re prepared to go ahead and do the design for the sewage and begin construction," said Brown. "We have funding committed for the sewage upgrade."

Although sewage is in place, the lines in place are eight-inch lines. The eight-inch lines can facilitate just about any type of development except for something the nature of a hospital. The new lines will be 12-inch gravity lines, with some variances.

The city has a federal grant of $1 million available for the infrastructure work. The grant is a 60-40 grant and Brown said B&O construction dollars will help cover the city’s 40 percent matching requirement.